The Northwest a Trashy Place?

Sometimes I think of some odd things while I am out on the open road. Have you ever wondered what other truck drivers are thinking while on the road driving? Are they thinking about family? Are they thinking about how to make more money going to another company? These and other interesting thoughts often come to mind when I am a long run, watching the long miles endlessly pass by.

My latest odd thought came about yesterday as I was passing through Missoula, Montana along I-90. I noticed the snow is almost melted and you could actually see green grass try to sprout from amongst the gray, rag weed that lines the freeway shoulder and center divider. One unfortunate problem I noticed was the never ending supply of various trash scattered along the freeway. I noticed everything from cans, fast food containers, beer bottles, milk jugs, pee bottles, plastic shopping bags, cooler lids, hub caps, tires, tire shreds, basketballs, tennis balls, misc. papers, diapers, oil jugs, car bumpers, car parts, rims, candy wrappers, potato chip bags, etc. You get the picture, everything and anything can be found along the highways of our nation. I think that the main reason I happened to notice all of the trash is because most northern states don’t do roadside trash pickup during the winter months because of the snow. I think the most shocking item I noticed was the number of beer cans and beer bottles along the freeway. I was just astonished at the endless line of trash littering the freeway from Missoula to Seattle.

Then I thought, I wondered how much trash is actually scattered along the freeway. How could I estimate the number of items I noticed just in the state of Washington alone? I came up with a rough number of 299,000 items in a 300 mile stretch of I-90. Of course I didn’t attempt to count everything I saw, but I did come up with a rough estimate of how much trash was scattered along the freeway. I estimated that I noticed a can, bottle or other item about every 5 feet, this would include the shoulders and center divider. A mile has roughly a little more than 5,000 feet. Every mile had the possibility of containing 1,000 items. 1,000 x 299 miles across Washington along I-90 equals 299,000 items! Here is another amazing fact, if 75% of the trash were cans or bottles, some states have a redemption value on each bottle or can of .05 cents. Lets see, 299,000 x 75% = 224250 cans and bottles. If I took 224250 cans and bottles in at .05 cents a piece, I would make a cool profit of $11,212.50! LOL!

I’ll be the first one to admit, I did have too much time on my hands to figure that one out. But that is what you get when you are bored out of your mind cruising down the road.

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